Nicotine enhances an auditory Event-Related Potential component which is inversely related to habituation

VELTRI, Theresa, TAROYAN, Naira and OVERTON, Paul (2017). Nicotine enhances an auditory Event-Related Potential component which is inversely related to habituation. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 31 (7), 861-872.

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Nicotine is a psychoactive substance that is commonly consumed in the context of music. However, the reason why music and nicotine are coconsumed is uncertain. One possibility is that nicotine affects cognitive processes relevant to aspects of music appreciation in a beneficial way. Here we investigated this possibility using Event-Related Potentials (ERPs). Participants underwent a simple decision-making task (to maintain attentional focus), responses to which were signaled by auditory stimuli. Unlike most previous research looking at the effects of nicotine on auditory processing, we used tones of different pitch, a fundamental element of music. In addition, unlike most other studies, we tested non-smoking subjects to avoid withdrawal-related complications. We found that nicotine (4.0 mg, administered as gum) increased P2 amplitude in the frontal region. Since a decrease in P2 amplitude and latency is related to habituation processes, and an enhanced ability to disengage from irrelevant stimuli, our findings suggest that nicotine may cause a reduction in habituation, resulting in non-smokers being less able to adapt to repeated stimuli. A corollary of that decrease in adaptation may be that nicotine extends the temporal window during which a listener is able and willing to engage with a piece of music.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre
Departments: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Humanities
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Naira Taroyan
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2017 17:02
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2018 03:38

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